Small pet birds and anything related by Pete Etheridge – aka – 'Stanton Birdman'

Autumn will be here sooner than we know it; after all we are already at the end of August.  What happened to summer?  Last winter was pretty harsh with heavy snowfall here in the UK, so there’s a good chance that this winter may turn out the same.  Your tropical pet birds need to be suitably protected to withstand a harsh winter season.

Larger tropical pet birds are more likely to be able to cope with the freezing conditions but they still need some protection.  Small pet birds however will require good quality protection from the onslaught of winter, as their smaller size means that they will cool down much quicker than their bigger cousins.  Fortunately your small pet birds are quite hardy and are more than able to stand the cold than you might imagine as long as suitable requirements are met.  For example, in Australia where many tropical pet birds originate from the night time temperatures can become very cold in certain areas but the birds survive OK.

Have you noticed that when the weather is freezing cold you are usually quite comfortable if there is no wind and you are dry.  Tropical pet birds are the same; they don’t mind getting wet, they don’t mind cold wind or draughts, they don’t mind freezing cold temperatures, but they are not going to take them all at once.  As long as your small pet birds have had a good feed and built up a nice layer of cold-protecting fat they are happy.  So make sure they’ve got a plentiful and continuous supply of food to help them feel comfortable.

Another of my articles at ‘ArticleBase‘ offers more information.

Also don’t allow small pet birds like finches to go without light for more than a maximum of eight hours.  An automatic switch that switches on and off at pre-set times and connected to an artificial light source is a good idea, just be sure your tropical pet birds cannot come into contact with the bulb and burn themselves.  This is because due to their small size and active nature small pet birds like finches need to eat on a regular basis to keep up their energy and fat levels.  They will only eat if it is light enough for them to see clearly.

My article at ‘ArticleBase‘ will give you a little more information on this matter.

Tropical pet birds in an outdoor aviary need to build up their fat reserves to keep their inner bodies warm so if they have been breeding you must ensure that they do not breed during the winter.  The chicks would surely die in the cold conditions and raising chicks certainly exhausts their parents and diminishes their food supply much quicker than if they were not looking after youngsters.  The best way to prevent your small pet birds from breeding again is to remove the nest boxes at the end of summer regardless of how many clutches they have raised; don’t do it until any current babies have flown the nest though.

The tropical pet birds’ aviary will need to be dry and free from cold draughts.  This is not a necessity however as long as it is dry and draught free.  Artificial heating can be used as long as no fossil fuels are used to provide the heat, so no coal, gas or paraffin for example.

To ensure the aviary for your small pet birds is in good repair for winter, and to avoid having to work in the cold you need to carry out any repairs during late summer or early autumn.  To allow enough time before winter sets in it is necessary to inspect the aviary and fix any issues.  As long as your aviary is secure, draught free and watertight your tropical pet birds will be fine.

This depends entirely on your own personal preference and what plans you have for your bird or birds.

I’ve recently sold some baby budgies and have been asked this question a few times and have always responded with the same answer.

If you want a companion bird, ie. one you can handle, tame and possibly train then go for a cage.  If on the other hand you would like your bird to live out as natural existence as possible then go for an aviary.  This is the basic jist of it but of course it does depend on your budget and the space you have available.

The majority of my birds live in a large outdoor mixed aviary at the bottom of the garden, but when I have babies to deal with I put them in a cage once they have flown the nest to try to keep them as tame as possible ready for sale.  This also makes them much easier to catch once new homes have been found for them.

A caged bird will become much tamer and more human-friendly because it will undoubtedly interact with people more often.  Whereas a bird in an aviary will live in a semi-wild state and will only be used to its main owner.

I do believe however that if an adult bird is taken from an aviary to be re-homed in a cage then this can have a psychological effect on it; after living semi-free in the aviary for so long this would be like a prison sentence to the poor bird.

On the other hand if a baby bird is first housed in a cage and has never known the relative freedom of an aviary then it will accept its existence as normal.  This will not then affect the bird psychologically in any way.  If the previously caged bird is then given the freedom of an aviary then initially it will wonder what’s gone off and will tend to stay put to start with.  After a day or so however it will then begin to explore its new environment and will soon get used to the change.

Unfortunately this wouldn’t work the other way and a previously free bird that is now caged will undoubtedly become depressed.

To summarise moving an adult caged bird to an aviary will generally be fine, but moving an adult aviary bird to cage is not a good idea.

The only exception to this rule is if the bird becomes ill it will and should have the solitude of a cage whilst it recovers from its illness, this also quarantines the bird so that if the illness is infectious then the risk of the other birds catching it will be dramatically reduced.

Hi folks!

Here’s your chance to get hold of a FREE pet bird related ebook.

Although I am named as the author of this it is actually a PLR ebook I bought a while ago and added a few pictures and myself as the author, so it’s not brilliant but it does give some valuable information to anyone who wishes to start and keep pet birds.

I can write much better material and have done so  with my ‘Pet Bird Keeping Secrets, The Stealth Guidebook’, also available from my simple one page website at http://www.birdkeepingsecrets.com/.  The eBook I’m giving away free however will prove full of useful information to anyone new to the hobby so it is worth the original asking price of $14.97  but it’s now yours for FREE.  This can also be gotten hold of from BirdKeepingSecrets.com, just click the ‘Get Your Free EBook’ link.

It’s FREE so it’s worth having even if it don’t teach you anything, but I’m sure it will!

Please also feel free to give copies of it away to as many other people as you like, in fact I sincerely hope you do just that!  When you read it you will understand why.

So don’t delay any longer and click this link NOW to get your FREE copy.

You can either click the link and then once the book is visible click the ‘Save a Copy’  button in the top left corner or right click on the link and choose ‘Save Target As’  from the dropdown menu.

It is in ‘Adobe PDF’ format so you can read it on any computer that has ‘Adobe Reader’ installed, which is most of them.  If you don’t have ‘Adobe Reader’ then click here or here and get it for FREE.

The flutter of tiny wings

I will be giving more details about the Australian grass parakeets soon, as promised, although somewhat delayed due to my other commitments.

Thought I’d take the opportunity to do a little upgrade post about the bird situation at home.

Stanton Birdman currently has 5 baby budgies for sale to good homes only.  They have now been taken from the aviary and placed in a cage ready to go to eager buyers.  There was 6 to start with from 2 clutches but one has already been claimed, a beautiful bright yellow from Squeek’s first clutch of the year, go to my earlier post https://stantonbirdman.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/small-pet-birds-cleaning-nest-boxes/ to learn a bit more about their upbringing and a photo of them when they were younger.

To try and make sure they go to good homes I am asking £10 each for them.  I am only selling them locally however to minimise the phychological damage that they would suffer should they have to travel far to new homes.  If you would like any and live fairly local to Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, UK then please email me at stanton.birdman@gmail.com.

Of the 5 that are left, 2 are from ‘Squeek’ (hen) – not sure who Dad is –  and the other three are from ‘Blue’ (hen) and ‘Pied’ (cock), my most prolific breeders.

This year's first babies ready to go

Check the picture to take a look at them now but please excuse the quality as I only have my mobile phone’s 2mp built-in camera to take photos with.

They are all strong and healthy birds that are eating well and ready to go, but as they have not yet seen their first molt I can’t tell which are female and which are male.

So far there’s no cockatiel chicks (although they’ve laid eggs) and no Java sparrow chicks (they have laid eggs also), the Bengalese (society) finches and the zebra finches appear to be struggling with the concept of egg laying – the nests are built but no eggs laid.  Meanwhile both ‘Squeek’ and ‘Blue’ have already laid again, but I will only allow my birds to raise a maximum of 2 clutches each per year.

On a similar note, ‘Squeek’s’ baby from last year – another beautiful bright yellow – which I decided to keep myself because of her colour has also laid eggs but no chicks yet, so good luck to her!

Apart from the budgies the other birds seem to be struggling but I live in optimism.

Hello! I’m back!

Yes I know it’s been a while since I last posted anything on here. I’ve been rather a busy fella. You see I’m in the process of setting up a website of my own as a platform to sell my stuff on. This is still in construction but will be online soon; hopefully!

Other than that my main reason for my absence is purely down to my family commitments. ‘Family first’ is a policy I’ve always stood by my whole life. Recently a few of my grandchildren have had birthdays, have you noticed how with birthdays they all seem to happen at about the same time of year?

You see as I am such a great cook and baker, lol, I have been recently commisioned by family members to supply all the baked goods for my grand-kids birthday parties. First it was my youngest grand-daughter only a few weeks ago, next my grand-son last weekend, and still yet to come this weekend one of my other grand-daughters, so my baking commitment as I call it is still on-going. All this coupled with days out (after all it’s the six-week’s holiday at the moment), my internet ventures, and various other lifestyle pressures something occasionally has to take a back seat; and unfortunately my blog posts are it.

But I’m back with a vengeance now, or at least from this weekend, yes there’s still day trips and my other internet ventures but no more party baking until next month.

I’ll post you soon!

Pete.

Australian grass parakeets are popular as pets or aviary birds due to their colourful markings, small size and placid nature. About the same size as budgerigars; they do however command a premium price by comparison but are well within the reach of most enthusiasts. There are about 6 popular species of grass parakeet used in aviculture.

All the species of Australian grass parakeets are closely related to the budgerigar but unique in their own separate ways. When kept as domestic birds they have very similar requirements to budgerigars; same type and size of nest box, same or similar type of food etc. so their requirements are easily met.

Originating from the grasslands of their native land as the name suggests, these are beautiful little parrots in a good variety of colours; often the iridescence of their plumage makes them even more attractive to the bird keeper. Also their calm and placid nature is an added attraction along with the fact that they are not prone to annoying squawking and often emit nothing more than a just audible chirp, making them ideal in flats or apartments where a quiet pet is beneficial.

Grass parakeets are readily available on the market but due to their desirable characteristics and appearance you will find that demand often outstrips supply. So don’t expect to pay less than £30 each and often more; not a bad price really but quite steep when compared to their nearest pet neighbours, the budgerigars which can often be picked up for £10 or even less.

The most common species as pets are the bourke (bourke’s parakeet), scarlet-chested (splendid), turquoisine, elegant parakeet, rock parrot, blue-winged parakeet, and the red-rump. Search for any of these in a good online image search and you will notice immediately why they are so desirable to bird keepers.

Bourke

Neopsephotus Bourkii

It is claimed that of all the grass parakeets these are the easiest to keep in captivity, as they are very undemanding. They originate from central and south-western Australia and are approximately 7.5 inch 19 cm long. Bourke’s parakeets are considered by some to be rather dull due to their brown colour but they do have a pink front and blue on the wings, there are some brightly coloured mutations however such as the rosy bourke, and all have a calm and charming nature.

Elegant

Neophema elegans

Native to southern Australia the elegant grass parakeets are olive-yellow in colour with a blue band across the forehead and along the edge of the wings and are about 8.75 inch 22 cm long. Very popular as captive birds with many keepers throughout the globe.

Red rump

Psephotus haematonotus

Originating from southeast Australia and found in flocks or pairs in open country, also frequenting suburban gardens and parks but avoiding the wetter heavily timbered areas and coastal regions. A medium sized parrot of about 25 – 28 cm 9.75 – 11 inches and emerald green in colour with yellow underparts, the actual red-rump only applies to the male of the species.

Blue-winged

Neophema chrysostoma

A migratory species that breeds in Tasmania but sees the winter out in southeast Australia, found in flocks of up to 2000 before migration but usually in pairs during the breeding season. These little parrots are about 20 – 22 cm 8 – 8.5 inches and mainly olive green with a blue band to the forehead and edge of wings and yellow belly (very similar markings to the elegant but the blue banding is less profound).

Splendid

Neophema splendida

Also commonly known as the scarlet-chested parakeet and often confused with the turquoisine due to similar markings. About 7.5 to 8 inches 19 – 20 cm in length. As their name implies these have a scarlet chest but also a yellow belly and underside, bright blue (often iridescent) head and wing edges and a deep green back and rump. Considered by some to be the most beautiful of the grass parakeet species and so making them very popular in captivity. Native to western new south Wales and interior western Australia.

Turquoisine

Neophema pulchella

Once common throughout eastern Australia but now mainly found in the north eastern areas. Approximately 20 cm 8 inch long. Also a desirable and popular pet due to its calm and placid nature (a trait that seems common in all grass parakeets) and it’s wonderful iridescent turquoise colouring to the crown, face and edges of wings, green back, often orange-yellow chest and red belly.

As Featured On EzineArticles

More detailed information coming soon.

'Squeeks' chicks

Spent a full hour today cleaning out nest boxes and faeces off chicks feet.

First I took down one nest box at a time, but only the ones that contained hatched chicks (just 2 fortunately, or not depending how you look at it).

I opened the end panel of the nest box, took out the three chicks that were in there and put them safely in a cardboard box.  Then I removed the concave insert and was forced to scrape the dried up faeces off it with a wallpaper scraper, and then I had to also scrape part of the inside wall for the same reason.

After returning the concave insert I got to work on cleaning my baby budgies feet.  To do this I had to soak each foot in turn for about a minute in luke warm clean water (no additives or detergents), whilst trying not to give the baby budgerigar a bath in the process.

Then I needed to carefully prise the dried faeces off the chicks feet and claws – difficult to do without a soaking first, the soaking of the foot loosens the dried up faeces so it’s easier to remove, but still challenging as it is important not to injure the baby bird in any attempt to clean.

When done i dried the chick by padding down any wet with a piece of kitchen roll (highly absorbent and does a better job of drying and soaking up any dampness) before returning the baby budgie to the nest box.

I then had to repeat the process with the other two baby budgerigars from that nest box, then repeat the whole thing with the other nest box that also contained three budgie chicks; much to the annoyance of the parent birds who were often squawking at me for disturbing their babies. 

Fortunately my birds never seem to hold a grudge whenever I do this and are soon my friends again, especially if I bribe them with some treat.

Comment

If you are breeding your pet or aviary birds this is a process I’m sure you will be familiar with, if you’re not familiar with this then you should  be!

Until they fledge and leave the confines of their nest box naturally all their activity is within there, including going to the toilet.  Bird droppings, whether from adults or chicks, will dry up into solid clumps that can be very difficult to remove.  Even more difficult when trying to remove it from a baby birds feet and claws, which will undoubtedly get clogged up and can in worst cases cause a permanent deformity in your birds as they grow.

So be sure to check your nest boxes regularly and do whatever cleaning is required!